By In #SxSW

Hurray for Mona Lisa Selfies!

Digital is not the holy grail, it’s a layer –  Shelley Bernstein

As technology and digital innovation continues to evolve, transforming daily life and the ways we connect with each other, different sectors in society are struggling to “keep up” and translate their traditional DNA into today’s reality. Listening to some inspiring tweeps from the fashion and art world in different #SxSW panels, revealed different angles of this common challenge. How do institutes such as fashion houses and museums, that have creative craftsmanship at their core, embrace tech and digital innovation? Does it pose a threat to their artistic traditions? And how to deal with the inherent tension between the limited (elitist?) essence of art and high fashion, and the popular, widespread nature of digital?

As with most things in life, we shouldn’t throw away the baby away with the bathwater. Technology is not looking to replace “traditional” aspects of the fashion or art experience, but to enrich it. To add an extra layer, adapting it to the needs of todays connected art lovers and fashionistas.

Liz Bacelar, founder of Decoded Fashion and organizer of the first fashion hackathon to hit the catwalk at Fashion Week: The mission of tech in the fashion world is to create beauty. It aims to make the brand experience richer, not replace existing components.

Maritza Lerman Yoes, social strategist for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: People used to be scared that allowing visitors to share images would prevent people from wanting to come to the museum and see the art for themselves. The contrary is true. People are craving authentic, physical experiences. Seeing that image will trigger them to come and experience the art themselves. To put it bluntly: they want to take their own art selfie 🙂 Museums should embrace this, and ride this wave to get even more traction.

Whereas taking photographs used to be forbidden in art venues, museums start to understand the value of digital engagement, and even expect their visitors to share their experience. Hurray for Mona Lisa Selfies! But it doesn’t stop there.

Maritza Lerman Yoes There is amazing content on our walls, which invites people to come physically. Our digital presence should reflect this creativity. It’s important for any institution to have a presence that exists beyond their own walls. But we need to make the decisions on technology that are right for our exhibitions, our audience and what we want to do.

It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: to harness the full potential of tech and digital innovation in any sector, they should be part of an integrated approach. What kind of experience are our visitors/consumers/clients looking for? And how can this experience be enriched by adding a “digital layer”? Yes: we’re crusaders for the digital cause. No question about that. But we should be humble enough to recognize it’s not the holy grail. What is true for the fashion and art world is true for brands in general. Without an integrated approach, there’s not much holy about it at all.

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